Liverpool boss has a clear message for his squad over importance of the Premier League fixture at home to Manchester United
Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool to ignore Manchester United’s troubled season and regard victory over their bitter North West rivals as “the most important three points in your life”.
The Reds will aim to go two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table when United make the short journey down the East Lancs Road on Tuesday evening for another blockbusting Premier League clash.
United have won only four of their last 13 games in all competitions and will finish without silverware for the fifth successive campaign – their worst such run in almost 40 years.
However, Saturday’s narrow 3-2 victory over Norwich City – in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick – has rekindled hopes of a top-four finish and Champions League qualification. And Klopp is mindful any sense of complacency could prove costly for Liverpool as they continue an intense finale to the campaign.
“If we let United do (what they want), they will cause us massive problems,” said the Reds boss. “We have to be in the right mood, the people have to be in right mood to really be ready to fight for the three points, and not want to show we are in a better moment than United. Who is interested about that?
“There are times when you have better moments than other teams then you get a knock and that’s it with the better moment. Who cares.
“They (United) want the three points we need. That’s that attitude we have to show. We have to be angry in a good way, greedy, all these kind of things, like you are if you have won nothing and would be with nil points and it’s the most important three points in your life. That’s the attitude we need for this game. Otherwise the quality is too high, they (United) are too good for not being in that mood.”
Klopp is convinced there is more than sufficient talent within the United squad to cause Liverpool issues as they seek an 11th consecutive home Premier League win.
“We don’t face the teams who has problems, we face Manchester United,” said the Reds boss. “And if I go through the line-up that could play, the goalkeeper is world class, the last line (defence) absolute top, then (in midfield) I’m not sure if McTominay and Fred can play and it might be Pogba and Matic – and if you let Pogba play, then he plays through you and behind you and all these kind of things – then up front you can choose from Sancho, Fernandes, Elanga or Rashford, and a guy who scored his 60th hat-trick.
“I’m not sure if Cavani will be ready but that is the team we face. That’s what we have to prepare for, not what happened last week or something like that.”
Liverpool won 5-0 at Old Trafford in October, a result that helped hasten the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as United manager. The Norwegian’s replacement, Ralf Rangnick, is someone Klopp knows well from his time working in Germany, with the Reds boss recognising the problems his compatriot has been facing.
“We had a similar situation when I started here,” said Klopp. “We were not flying from the first day, let me say it like this. When you are in that situation, you just accept it that you need all the steps. You cannot just put on a magic sprinkle and go from there.
“What is a good example is United’s 3-2 against Norwich. You win 3-2 at home, it’s the Premier League, it is a home game you have to win and you won it. Great. But because of the situation they are in, they have to explain why it is only 3-2. What was our result at home to Norwich? 3-1, so not much better and we struggled in moments and you think ‘come on, forget it, 3-1, three points, professional business, go from here’.
“But that’s the situation they are in, they have to explain why it is only 3-2, why you have to give them two goals and things like this. That would be in all big clubs in the world the same and that’s what we all have to deal with. It is completely normal that expectations are always short-term, never long-term. You want the advantage now and forever, and not from five months and forever. That is the problem we all have. That might be the situation there.”
With the expected luxury of a fully-fit squad, Klopp is likely to rotate his resources with Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota all pressing for a recall having been on the bench at Wembley.
Tags: Jurgen Klopp